This house of ours
On Saturday, JG and I helped friends move from their apartment into their first house. They did a good job packing and organizing, and there were plenty of folks to help, so everything went smoothly and relatively quickly. On the way to our friends’ apartment that morning, I mentioned to JG that it was the 7th anniversary of our own move-in date. As with our wedding anniversary — a hazard of doing everything in the same year — I felt mostly disbelief at the number. Seven whole years ago, we looked at 17 houses, put in 2 offers, found this house, got our offer accepted on the anniversary of our engagement, and then moved in with the help of our friends and family. Holy crap.
When we moved in, the house was fine. Nothing had to be done, which was great, because we had no money to do anything. During our first winter, JG was so worried about money that we kept the heat on a minimum, just enough to prevent the pipes from freezing, and watched cable-less television from inside our sub-zero sleeping bags. Ah, memories.
Since then, we’ve done a lot to make this house our own. Home decor is not my strong suit, and if I had unlimited funds, I would definitely pay someone else to do all of that for me. But I think that my thorough method of copying other people has helped me cobble together a passably nice home. I like it, at least.
In 2006, JG painted the majority of the rooms in the house, including the main living room. We chose Behr Shamrock, and we love it. I know that we’ll probably have to redo it if we ever want to sell, but until then, The Green Room it shall be.
In the next few years, we added small things throughout the house, like bedroom furniture and picture ledges above the couch. In 2009, though, we took on our biggest project: redoing the kitchen.
I can’t fully describe the difference that the kitchen upgrade has made in our quality of life, and it makes having people over so, so much easier.
In 2010, we redid the laundry room and learned the wonder that is peel-and-stick vinyl flooring.
Last year, we redid our tiny office, mostly thanks to 2 IKEA cabinets, a slab of IKEA laminate, and 2 filing cabinets from Walmart.
Now, we’ve moved on to the boring, large-scale projects that we can’t do on our own. For example, when a light fixture started dripping water, we had to have the roof replaced. Then last summer, JG hired a tree service to take down a giant tree that could have destroyed our house if it had come down. A couple of months ago, a contractor finished replacing our windows and the siding, and he installed new white shutters and a light fixture. I think our next big job will be flooring, and I dread it. How does one take out all of the furniture for that type of installation? I guess we’ll have to rent a POD or something. I don’t know. When we have enough money, we’d like to hire someone to build a deck off of the green room and hang pretty bistro lights. Last summer, JG couldn’t stop mentioning how “tonight would be a great night for a deck.” Maybe we can make it happen this year.
It’s funny how, when we bought this house during the housing bubble, JG told me carefully that we would have to stay here for at least 5-8 years to make the mortgage make sense, and I was fine with that. But in 2009, the market plummeted, and we decided to redo the kitchen instead of looking at other houses. Ever since, we’ve followed that trajectory of making this house the house want to be in, and the thought of moving becomes increasing unattractive. My only quibble is that I wish we had a garage. It would be nice not to have to scrape my windshield in the morning.
But, really, I love our house. I love that it’s comfortable and casual. I love that we have paintings from JG’s grandfather (Mimi’s husband) and my photographs hung on the wall. I love the high ceiling in our family room that lets us get a nice, tall Christmas tree. I love that we can pile the buffet with food and there are lots of places for people to sit and talk. I love that we have room for 6 people to spend the night in beds, and 2 more on couches, plus lots of floor space. I love that, even though I don’t really like dealing with home decor, I really like hosting, and this house lets us do that.
This week, we are hunkered down, riding out the effects of Hurricane Sandy, et al. JG’s school is closed, and my boss essentially told us not to come in, even though the office is not closed. Rain is lashing at the house in fits and starts, and every so often, we hear a roaring gust of wind. For now, at least, I feel snug and cozy in this house of ours, and I’m grateful for the 7 years we’ve had here.